Legend of Mana (PS) - Single-segment Dragon's Quest 2:10:02 - Nicholas Hoppe
First, I'd like to thank the writers of several great FAQs, for without them, this run wouldn't have been done. This includes RCrowder for the Technique List, Myst Erik Ery for the Artifact Guide, and Nemesis and SeanKelson for their general walkthroughs. Though I've played this game over and over, all of these were necessary to determine the minimums for doing a speedrun.
Before I go into the heart of the run, let me clear up a couple things I was asked about my run. First off, I was asked why I choose the weaponry that I do. I get some weapons via drops, but don't use them. I don't use them because different types of weapons require all new tech attacks, which I don't want to have to take time to learn. Also, during the end of this run, you may notice I stop collecting every experience gem out there. Once I get at a decent level, I can hold my own and I don't have to get my levels much higher. Also, it allows me to continue battling without interruption. I have to grab ones at the end of the battle to move things along though. Lastly, while I only need Rabite for the Ghost of Nemesis mission, I keep it after that because I'd have to go home to ditch him. The time I lose because he can't walk I figured is less than the time it would take to go home and dump him off. I could get rid of him before Cage of Dreams, but by that point, there's no reason to. And there's some humor value into leaving him there...you'll see what I mean later.
NICCOLO'S BUSINESS UNUSUAL
I start with this because of its simplicity and it will start laying the foundation of other missions. I do this mission before The Lost Princess to avoid extra chatter by Niccolo leaving the inn. When I get to the choices the hoodlums give me, there's no major difference in the end - you still fight the boss. I just choose candy for humor value.
Boss: Mantis Ant - This battle goes really well - especially when Niccolo decides to pitch in. All my tech attacks connect beautifully. I don't have 300 Lucre, but he takes whatever money I have (greedy rabbit). Iron Pot is the only useful one of the three items given. I also get the Medallion and Flame artifacts.
Bonus fact - Mantis Ant is also the first boss of Secret of Mana as well. (Go watch that run, even if it's not mine - totally awesome game.)
THE LOST PRINCESS
This is one of my favorite missions in the entire game. I guess I'm a sucker for the whole damsel in distress thing. After switching around abilities, tech attacks, and armor, I go meet up with Elazul and head out to find the babe, Pearl. If you do this mission before Niccolo's Business Unusual, Sandra will appear, just before you reach the boss fight. However, she is not present in this run.
Boss: Du'Inke - This battle went exceptionally well. I managed to time my tech attacks to nail him the second he was finished with his which was totally awesome. Elazul was completely worthless in this fight. I learn counterstrike, which is a crucial ability for me in the game.
Pearl is safe and heads back with Elazul, though not before giving me the Stone Eye and Firefly Lamp. At this point, I lay out the Flame, Medallion, Firefly Lamp, and Stone Eye all in one fell swoop to clean out my artifact inventory. I head over to Lumina for the next mission.
The extent of this mission is this: You have to sell 3 lamps to 3 Dudbears. However, they don't speak English. Their entire language consists of dubs, duds, and daddas. The guy at the café helps you learn the language, but since I can already properly speak to them, I just let him rattle on so the Dudbears will speak with me. I also take this opportunity before selling lamps to sell items and buy my SteelSword, so I don't get my money confused with the money that will go to Gilbert and Monique. I sell all 3 lamps, and watch a sad departure as Gilbert decides that she sucks. Monique is depressed at first, but with the Dudbears encouragement, she becomes happy again and in her happiness gives me the Sand Rose and Trembling Spoon, the latter being crucial for this run.
I head over to Domina's western side to go egg hunting, and it's not even Easter!
The object of this stupid little mission is to get the egg to eat the food and hide until he does so. He was a little uncooperative, but I got him. So the egg gets sent to my house, but it'll take a few days for it to hatch. I listen to a lot of blabber about how they're "good adventuring partners" (yeah, sure...whatever). But I need to do this for The Ghost of Nemesis later, so I have to deal with it.
I place the Trembling Spoon and head to The Underworld to begin the storyline.
THE FALLEN EMPEROR
After getting taken by surprise, I meet up with Larc and begin my descent into hell. First I have to talk to Olbohn to get permission to perform the Baptism of Flame, which will allow me to travel everywhere in hell. After getting it, I head down to the lower levels to meat Larc's master. But first, I must be tested.
Boss: Hitodoma - This boss is quite annoying as he likes to continually hide. I stick with regular attacks since they generally prolong his time on the game screen. He soon falls and I get to meet the master who sends me off on a quest. I am to kill 3 dragons who apparantly banished him to hell and get his magic power back. Seeing that I'm stuck as a half-spirit, I have no choice but to accept. I get the Skull Lantern and Broken doll, the former which allows me to continue the storyline.
After planting the Skull Lantern, I head up to the mountains to sing The Sound of Music...I mean, continue the mission. We're introduced to Sierra in quite a rude manner.
THE GUARDIAN OF WINDS
The first of the 3 dragons that must be defeated is protected by a bunch of worthless birds who have put a barrier on the path to the chamber. I must fight 3 of them to break the barrier. For each fight, I have to stick to regular attacks, as they LOVE to use magic. The time it would take to get a tech attack off would allow them to get a magic spell off and make my attack worthless.
Boss: Akravator - This boss is a total pain in the ass. He uses tech attack after tech attack, and there are times where you think you've gotten a hit off, only to find out that he had already become invincible in preparing to fly across screen, so no damage is done. Obviously quite frustrating. After defeating him, I get the first of the 3 Mana Stones which harbor Drakonis' power. In thanks for completing the mission, Larc gives me Dragonbone and Tome of Magic artifacts. Again, the former allows me to continue the storyline.
I lay out Dragonbone to continue the game and the Broken Doll to get my # of artifacts to under 3 so I can get full artifacts for the later missions. I head home to go pick up my hatched monster egg, which it's a rabite! Worthless little creature, but he's needed for Ghost of Nemesis, so I deal with it. But first, as long as I'm in this neck of the woods, I head over to the Jungle.
This level can be quite confusing if you don't know the layout. The anti-lost spell is necessary to open the pathway where you first meet Hamson. When you're recruiting help to catch Du'Cate, if you ask them to join up with each other, they get pissed. ^_^;; I hate those rotten tomatoes...between their flame and vampire attacks, they can really do a number on you in a hurry if you don't pay attention.
Boss: Du'Cate - Rising Sun works wonders, though Iai strike won't work at all, so I don't use it. Thanks to the help of Larc, the boss falls quickly. As a reward, I get 500 Lucre and the Ancient Tablet artifact.
With this little side trip out of the way (I need the Ancient Tablet for mana artifact count), I head back to the storyline.
THE FIELD TRIP
The purpose of this crappy little mission is to talk to 3 little buggers who have 3 items needed to mix a brew. However, it's complicated by the fact that one of them doesn't fork over their item (star sparkles) right away. So I have to try once, then go back and then I can talk to all 3 and end this mission. I get nothing of worth, but it does clear the buggers out of the way so I can start the next mission.
THE GHOST OF NEMESIS
This is the second quest to destroy the dragons for Drakonis. After defeating the Skeletal Soldier, we head inside the Bone Fortress, only to get caught in a trap thanks to that stupid rabite. We all get separated and I'm off to find my buddies. You need to find Rabite first, then you can use the elevators (since you need 2 people to push the buttons). I fight Sierra on the 3rd floor to get the key, then head down to free Larc. After getting the party back in order, we head up to the top for a big battle.
Boss: Deathbringer - Oooo...this guy looks scary, but he's all talk. I dispose of him in a hurry and continue on to find the bone dragon.
Boss: Jajara - Definitely the most interesting battle in this game. I won't spoil why I think such...it's a nice surprise. He suffers the wrath of my party and falls quickly. We get the 2nd Mana Stone, which contains more of Drakonis' powers. For my good work, I get the Green Cane, a necessary artifact to continue the storyline. I plant it and head over to The White Forest.
THE DRAGON PRINCESS
The last of the three dragons is here, but poor Larc can only rely on the scent of his sister to find it, so it's easy to know if you're going the right way or not. Eventually we make it through and find Vadise, the White Dragon. Vadise lets Larc have the Mana Stone to avoid getting killed, but after Larc leaves (giving me the Torch of Coral artifact), I get challenged to a fight...me versus Sierra and Vadise (how unfair!).
Boss: Sierra & Vadise - Two against one (and a half). Counterstrike is totally necessary in order to survive the fight. Vadise warps away for a bit if hit with a serious attack (like a tech attack or counterstrike). Sierra falls first, then Vadise goes soon after. Vadise is pleased at my strength and knows that I'm the only one who can stop Drakonis. BTW, hit detection sucks.
I head back to The Underworld where Sierra is waiting for me to go save her brother.
THE CRIMSON DRAGON
After getting attacked 5 seconds in (and watching Sierra kick some major ass), we head to the lower depts of hell to find Drakonis and Larc. As we hit the bottom, we learn that Larc was actually working with Drakonis to defeat him and be able to rise to the overworld again to be with his beloved sister, but he gets tricked by Drakonis and turned into a monster that we must defeat. After the battle, The Underworld gets turned into The Flames, which is the castle of Drakonis.
Boss: Larc the Conqueror - Larc is a fairly easy boss to beat. I purposely biff the first tech attack to avoid taking damage. Near the end, BOTH of our tech attacks hit one right after the other, allowing for massive damage to finish the fight (talk about good coordination with the AI).
The Flames is a mess of a castle that can lead you running around in circles if you aren't careful. In order to get anywhere, you have to defeat 3 bosses, which seals up magic orbs, preventing floors from collapsing so I can reach the throne room.
Boss 1: Zenoa - This fight is virtually identical to Larc the Conqueror. It's pretty much Larc with a pallete change. He falls quickly so I can continue on.
Boss 2: Sky Dragon - Nothing unusual here. He also falls quickly, even despite having a ton of life. He hardly has a chance to get an attack off.
Boss 3: Land Dragon - This is considered a boss? Yeah, sure...whatever. Well, so he did take out Sierra and Rabite in nearly 1 hit, but still, he's just a normal enemy with extra life. Next!
Grand Boss: Drakonis, The Crimson Dragon - Yes, the grand battle of them all! This guy loves to eat you for breakfast. He has one of the worst hit detections of a boss when you're trying to hit him (but he can hit you from anywhere, of course). He falls incredibly fast and that is the end of The Flames. Enjoy the ending to the storyline.
I lay out all the artifacts in my collection (Tome of Magic, Torch of Coral, Ancient Tablet, then Sand Rose) for mana count, but at this point I am one short, so I pull out the quickest mission in the game.
THE INFERNAL DOLL
There's a multitude of paths to take, but the one I take is the fastest to get to the last fight. Rising Sun if done right can nearly end the fight by itself! I get the Moon's Mirror artifact. Then I get some random speech from a guy I don't know.
I lay out Moon's Mirror which gives me enough mana artifacts out on the board to trigger the next mission. I head home, which because I've beaten Niccolo's Business Unusual and The Lost Princess, I trigger The Little Sorcerers, but I don't need to do that mission to complete the game.
THE CAGE OF DREAMS
This is a quick but super important quest - it gets you the Sword of Mana artifact, which is needed to trigger the last quest of the game.
LEGEND OF MANA
Ok, it's party time! This is my favorite level design. The fog, the squishy sound of the purple lillypads, I LOVE IT. I found a good path to take leading to the sanctuary. At the sanctuary, you need to fight enemies on all 4 corners (it doesn't matter the order). This is the trigger that leads you to the final boss...
Final boss: Mana Goddess - One word: Counterstrike. This one attack is what makes this battle look easy. I purposely use Rising Sun at the New Moon to become invincible during that laser attack. This battle couldn't have gone much better. Theoretically it is possible to beat her before she hits the New Moon, but oh well. I beat her easily and it's game over. Watch what happens to the poor Rabite in this battle. That's what you get for getting in the way!
Enjoy the ending people!
Game was completed with the hero at Level 21, buying only one additional item (SteelSword), learning 3 abilities (Counterattack, Counterstrike, and Rising Sun), and making 2 equipment changes (equipping SteelSword and Iron Pot).
On a final note, I would like to thank all the Hershey's Special Dark bars that willingly sacrificed themselves while I was working on this run.
Captured by Nate.
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